How Soon Can We Immigrate to U.S. Through Child With Green Card (Lawful Permanent Residence)?

Only after permanent residents become U.S. citizens can they help parents naturalize.

By , J.D.


My wife and I are interested in living in the United States. My daughter went to a U.S. college, then got a job, and now has just been approved for U.S. residence. Can she help us to immigrate to the U.S.? How long will it take?


As a U.S. lawful permanent resident (a green card holder), your daughter may eventually be able to help you and your wife immigrate to the United States, but not just yet. U.S. lawful permanent residents can, under U.S. immigration law, petition for their spouses and children to immigrate, but not for their parents.

If you can wait a few years, however, the situation may improve. Your daughter may become a U.S. citizen, and U.S. citizens are legally able to file visa petitions for their parents to receive U.S. green cards.

The parents of a U.S. citizen are considered "immediate relatives," meaning that the law places no limits on the number of people who can apply in this category. The result is that there's no waiting list, and the process moves reasonably quickly; a matter of months rather than years. (There's still the U.S. government bureaucracy to get through, after all.)

Based on what you have described, your child most likely has a five-year wait from the date she was approved for a green card before she can submit an application to naturalize (become a U.S. citizen). After she files the naturalization application, she's likely to wait several months for her interview and (assuming she's approved) her swearing-in ceremony.

Only after she has her naturalization certificate in hand (which she'll receive at the swearing-in ceremony) can she file the I-130 visa petition that will start the immigration process for you, as her parent.

So, you might want to encourage your daughter to learn about the requirements for U.S. citizenship now, so that she can complete this process as quickly and smoothly as possible! And for more information on your own immigration prospects, see How to Get a Green Card.

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